There’s no room for me in the living room

I suspect that all couples have their road blocks, their little – or big – habits that drive the other person crazy.  We’ve both done a lot of work, I think, on letting go of the really little things.  Sometimes Turtle will leave the wet sponge in the sink, and I’ve mostly stopped saying anything about it; it’s easier to move the stupid sponge than to have a conversation about it.  Sometimes I just rearrange things so that they *look* cleaner/neater instead of actually putting them away, and Turtle has just informed me that this is the thing she has stopped bringing up to me.  Pick your battles, right?

I guess I sort of thought that once you picked your battles and stopped picking other battles, you just lived happily ever after! Of course that’s how it works, right?  So I was sort of surprised when the living room takeover occurred.

the living room when we first looked at the apartment... admittedly a bit worse than Turtle's Takeover

Turtle is currently unemployed, which is not to say she’s not busy.  She is finishing moving us in, which means washing walls and stoves and finally going through piles of paperwork we have lying around.  She is taking care of our beasts, which sometimes means feeding them but more often means providing them with a warm body to lie on.  She is making a mess of the living room.

(Just for the record: I don’t write things here that are new to her, or passive aggressive… she won’t find out about my frustration with our living room situation through my blog.  Actually what happened is that I said, “I don’t know what to write about,” and she said, “How about how there’s no room for you in the living room?”  True story.)

Our adorable, clean living room

We have three seating areas – two chair and the couch – and one place for the dog.  Currently, Turtle has an enormous pile of clean, folded laundry (which she did!) on one chair, a stack of papers and a bicycle helmet on the couch, and a pile of paperwork on the TV table.  And by currently I mean in general… I actually made her put the couch stuff away before bed.

The point of this all is that there has been a living room takeover, and I am no longer welcomed there.  Sort of.  Often, Turtle says, “Come sit with me in here!” but I look around and there’s nowhere to go!

The bigger point of all of this is that there are new battles coming up ALL THE TIME.  They are not big battles, and really they don’t have to be the biggest deal ever, or even a medium sized deal.  They can just be a small deal, even the kind that you decide to wait to talk about until after you wake up the next morning.  Even the kind that you can joke about and call The Livingroom Takeover.

I think an important part about picking your little battles is learning that dance of the process, learning when to bring something up and how to bring it up in a way that works, that doesn’t make the other person defensive.  I think I actually did a good job on this one: a few days ago I said, “I feel like there’s no space for me in the living room.” And while she’s still figuring out how to see that, how to adjust her filter to see what I see, and it’s certainly not a welcoming space for me yet, she’s working on it.  And in the meantime, the dining room is quite comfortable.

What are your big house battles, and how do you deal with them? With roommates I used to just stew… anyone else?  What are your awful house habits, and are they as awesome as mine are – making the house look magically cleaner?  You have to admit that’s a pretty awesome awful habit.  Let’s call them House Superpowers instead.

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10 Comments

Filed under Home, Relationships

10 responses to “There’s no room for me in the living room

  1. Haha! I always wonder if people think I’m being passive aggressive in some of my posts about Josh. If I write about a fight or a this or a that, it’s no surprise to him because we’ve already addressed it. In fact, I did write a super long post when I got really mad at him and didn’t publish it because 1.) I was being a total brat and 2.) I didn’t want to surprise him with such a post. But yes, it’s sitting my drafts. Sometimes I read it and it reminds me that I need to be more patient.

    When we first moved in together, our biggest house battle was in the kitchen. I am a control freak and I was always telling him how to cook, how to clean while he cooked, and how to wash the dishes. And after a year of living together, I do my best to stay out of the damn kitchen when he’s in it. Haha! Problem averted!

    • Yeah… I’m the control freak too. Oh well. I like the phrase “problem averted” – sometimes they’re just not meant to be solved, right? right.

  2. Oh yes, learning the art of battling … or how not to. It definitely becomes a situation where I just stop saying something about the things that I know aren’t changing (Why can’t you just hang up the wet towel? What is it about the floor that seems so appealing for a pile of wet towels?) Instead, I quietly walk behind Marrv and pick up the towel, hang it and move on. Living together is definitely a science. Or I guess living together happily is a science!

    • It’s such a balance, whether or not to pick up the towel. It took me a long time to figure out that it *doesn’t* bother her that X happens but it does bother me, and sometimes that means I have to take care of it but sometimes you just have to say something. A work in progress, for sure.

  3. I am chronically messy but overall a clean person. Mr. Beagle is a very tidy person but not the cleanest. Living together has been a lesson for both of us. When I was finishing up grad school, I had taken over the ENTIRE dining table (with the leaves put in). I cleaned it up sooooo slowly. And then I gradually migrated a few feet over to the living area and took that over while unemployed. So I imagine you and Mr. Beagle are/were in similar boats.

    • Hahaha this made me laugh out loud. I’m starting classes in a couple of weeks and then it will be my turn to take over. I think my approach is: messes are unacceptable unless they’re mine! Not an entirely fair approach.

  4. Thankfully, both of us don’t like clutter. But with kids it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Having moved so many times in the past few years (with another impending move in a few months) we’ve done a good job getting rid of the small things.

    As for the differences? I’m a clean freak. He has spurts but for a guy he does a fabulous cleaning job. It’s the little one’s we have to worry about! I’m also into keeping things fresh and clean, replace or sell it if he starts to go. He’s more, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I like to rotate things. We’ll see what happens when we get to the house. I really want to repaint the facade. Paint is chipping and the shingles need to be sealed again.

  5. These little battles that you don’t see ahead of time pop up randomly and you learn to deal and see the big picture. This little fact about being in a relationship is why I would tell anyone to live with their partner before getting married! Ashley and I differ in our opinions of what clean means and I’m a perfectionist so that doesn’t help but we have managed to adjust and rarely make a big deal of the small things anymore.

    • Good point about living with someone first! I think that learning how to do all this and deal with the little arguments is a huge part of why we feel as solid as we do…

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